GDB 19.0: COLD SHOT

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The Edmonton Oilers play the Dallas Stars tonight and can declare victory if they don’t get scored on first. After a blazing start, the Oildrop have given it all back and stand at 9-8-1 for the season. They are still in a good spot, owing to the turtle race that is the Pacific Division. A win today and close the books on a 1-2-0 week and look ahead to Chicago, Colorado and Arizona twice in the next week.

FIRST, THE GOOD STUFF

What a moment! I watch that thing about 30 times a year, and it still isn’t enough. If we had time, I would also post that Joseph save just moments before—incredible. The Edmonton Oilers went from the Marchant goal to blinding disappointment against the Stars almost immediately afterward. The record between the two teams is noxious in the regular season, ghastly overall in the playoffs and not worth talking about since the turn of the century. I have had a backup plan for every game between these two teams since Mike Modano was a kid.

RECORD AND STATS (LEAGUE AVG)

  • Record: 9-8-1 (9-7-2)
  • GF: 48 (47)
  • GA: 49 (47)
  • PP: 8 (10)
  • PK: 6 (10)
  • PP: 16.00 (17.65)
  • PK: 88.00 (82.35)
  • Shots: 560 (515)
  • Shots Against: 538 (514)
  • Save Percentage: .913 (.913)
  • Source

What do those numbers tell us? Edmonton is an average team pretty much across the board currently. That is actually good news, but the way these numbers arrived is difficult for fans to take. Hot start, then a running leap into the elevator shaft. All or nothing Oilers, but at least they have nine wins on the books and we still have some time in November to burn.

There are many news items for this game, but the big one is the impending return of defender Kris Russell.

  • Corsi for after 3 games: 49.41
  • Corsi for upon injury: 44.94

After three games, Russell was 3gp, 0-3-3 offensively, was delivering about 50 percent in possession and things looked pretty damned good for the town team. Since then, his TOI and role increased, his possession numbers decreased and eventually he lost time to injury. This is going to be fascinating to watch, as many fans believe Russell’s injury is a major reason for the falling won-loss record, while the numbers suggest massive over-usage after about game 3. What, pray tell, is the answer? We will find out tonight, or at least get another slice of sample.

LINEUPS

Oilers

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 11.10.26 AM

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 11.07.15 AM

The Oilers added several players to the lineup for tonight’s game and didn’t have a morning skate, so these lines combinations are our best guess for now. Thoughts?

Stars

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 10.04.08 AM

Screen Shot 2016-11-19 at 10.04.31 AM

Lineups courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

NOTES

  • Matt Hendricks may draw in tonight as well, we will see who comes out of the lineup if he does. Candidates include Anton Slepyshev and Tyler Pitlick.
  • It sounds like Jesse Puljujarvi will get another night on Connor McDavid’s wing—that is very likely the eventual alignment, only a matter of time.
  • Scoring first is probably going to be the key to ending this slump, and I do think the floodgates will open for this group soon.
  • Goaltending has been an issue of late, Edmonton needs Cam Talbot to return to early season form.
  • The power play is a little below average (as shown above) but the shorties are beyond maddening. Good gracious, three lapses now this season. No excuse for that, the team is on track to allow TWELVE SHORTHANDED GOALS THIS SEASON.
  • At time of writing, Drake Caggiula was mentioned as a possible addition to the lineup. A bit surprising, prevailing wisdom had him in Bakersfield for a time.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Sounds like lots of returning vets from the last time the Stars played Edmonton, including Cody Eakin, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp.

TONIGHT

GDB

(photoshop: @TomKostiuk)

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score first! but Dallas answers and then answers again before the end of the period. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:  Milan Lucic scores early in the second period to tie, but Dallas pounds two past Cam Talbot and it is 4-2 after two.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: In a fantastic and furious third, Connor McDavid and Andrej Sekera score 10 minutes apart to earn a tie heading into overtime. The OT solves nothing, and Tyler Seguin scores the only shootout goal to send the fans home happy.